Ruben Studdard Is Back On The 'American Idol' Stage And Better Than Ever

Rejoice, American Idol fans — Season 2 fan favorite and winner Ruben Studdard is BACK on the Idol stage and better than ever. The Idol alum partnered with Season 15 contestant Stephany Negrete for the first duet round ever and reminded us all why he won in the first. While the night was supposed to be about Negrete, Studdard completely stole the show. His performance was smooth and strong, exactly what you would expect of an Idol winner. Negrete's, on the other hand, was not. While the performance may send her home, it was certainly entertaining — and we have Studdard to thank.

I'll be honest, I was totally Team Ruben when he competed in Season 2. Even my 5th grade teacher (yes, I was in 5th grade at the time) loved him. He was the best. And even though he hasn't done much since then, he's always held a special place in my heart. Tonight, Studdard proved exactly why he won so long ago. He performed with a level of professionalism and precision that is unmatched by many others who have come after him. He set the bar for what an American Idol contestant should be and proved that once again with his performance tonight alongside Negrete.

While Studdard stole the spotlight, Negrete fell flat. Her performance in the Top 24 Solo Round was amazing, but she got lost in the Duet Round next to Studdard. She was overpowered — which is not what she needs at this point in the game. It may have ruined her chances at making the Top 10, but at least we got to see Studdard another time before she goes.

Image: Michael Becker/FOX